If every job in the world paid the same, would you still do what you do? Unfortunately, I think that my answer would be a firm “No.” Granted, I certainly don’t teach for the money.
I have become increasingly disillusioned by my chosen profession as a high school Spanish teacher. While I certainly enjoy making a difference to a handful of kids, having the summers off, and teaching the language itself, I have realized that it is truly a thankless job. I am constantly hearing things like “I hate Spanish.”; “My mom made me take it.”; or ignorant comments about how something is “So gay!”. The sad thing is that when I bring this to the student’s attention they have absolutely no idea that they’ve done anything wrong. I’ve been right across the hallway from a stabbing and have taught in a school where a shooting took place. I’ve had a student say “F*** you!” to me in class and have been disrespected a thousand times.
However, the kids aren’t necessarily the worst ones. Parents can be something else and don’t even get me started on the other teachers. The politics and dirty games played within a school are insane. You think the movie, Mean Girls was bad? Step into the teacher’s lounge. I have recently found myself at the center of one of these horrendous rumor mills and I really think it is the last straw for me. I refuse to allow people to continue disrespecting me. I work too hard and bring too much of my work home with me to allow that to happen. I think the worst part is that I am not getting what I thought I would out of teaching. I’ve taught in the city and in the suburbs, so it isn’t necessarily an issue of challenges or being needed by the kids. It just isn’t enough for me anymore, and I’m not sure it ever was. I feel as if at this point, the bad far outweighs the good, at least for me.
I truly admire those who devote themselves wholeheartedly to the profession, and more importantly, to the kids. I admire them for their tenacity, dedication, and ability to navigate the rough waters without falling prey to the shark attacks. It is a very noble profession, but it is not one that I will continue in for much longer. Obviously, I will finish out the school year, but I don’t know what I will do after May. I really have no idea what lies ahead for me, but I’d like to do something creative and different. I’m not exactly sure what on earth I will be able to do with a degree in Spanish and Italian Studies, but I have faith that greener pastures await me in the future.